ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews

Vyvanse: ADHD Medication

Vyvanse is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD symptoms in children, adolescents, and adults
Generic Name: Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (amphetamine)

What is Vyvanse? Is Vyvanse a Narcotic?

Vyvanse (Generic Name: lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a once-daily, timed-release stimulant ADHD medication primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. Vyvanse is not a narcotic, but according to the FDA, it is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. It is an amphetamine.

Vyvanse may improve focus for people with inattentive ADHD (aka ADD), and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior — hallmark ADHD symptoms for many patients. It is not known if it is safe for children under the age of 6. Vyvanse has been available since 2007, when the FDA approved the medication for the treatment of ADHD.

Vyvanse is also used to treat binge eating disorder in adults.

Is Vyvanse Better Than Adderall?

Adderall and Vyvanse are both schedule II amphetamine-based central nervous system stimulant medications used to treat ADHD. Adderall comes in both immediate- and extended-release form; Vyvanse is available as an extended-release medication only. The immediate-release version of Adderall has a duration of action of 4 to 6 hours; the extended-release version lasts approximately 12 hours. The duration of effects for Vyvanse is 10 to 14 hours.

Vyvanse is a prodrug – an inert substance that is metabolized in the body to become active – which means it’s side effects are considered less harsh. Both drugs are classified by the FDA as Schedule II stimulants because they can be abused or lead to dependence, however Vyvanse is considered to carry a lower risk since it takes longer to metabolize in the system than does Adderall.

What Is the Best Vyvanse Dosage to Treat ADHD Symptoms?

The optimal dosage of Vyvanse varies by patient. Vyvanse capsules are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg and 70mg dosages. Vyvanse chewable tablets are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, and 60mg dosages. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medicine in the body throughout the day.

Your doctor may adjust your dosage weekly by 10mg or 20mg increments until you or your child experiences the best response — that is, the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects. The maximum dose is typically 70mg daily.

As with all medications, follow your Vyvanse prescription instructions exactly. Vyvanse is taken orally, with or without food, once daily. The first dose is typically taken first thing in the morning; it should be taken at the same time each day for the best results.

Capsules should be swallowed whole with water or other liquids. If your child is unable to swallow the capsule, it can be opened and stirred into yogurt, water, or orange juice. Taken this way, the mixture should be swallowed entirely at once. Chewable tablets should be completely chewed before swallowing, then followed with a glass of water or other liquid.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Vyvanse so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Some patients report developing a tolerance to Vyvanse after long-term use. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

What are the Side Effects of Vyvanse?

Most people taking Vyvanse do not experience any side effects. That said, the most common side effects associated with Vyvanse are as follows:

Vyvanse Side Effects When Treating ADHD:

  • anxiety
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • trouble sleeping
  • upper stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Vyvanse Side Effects When Treating Binge Eating Disorder:

  • dry mouth
  • trouble sleeping
  • decreased appetite
  • increased heart rate
  • constipation
  • feeling jittery
  • anxiety

Another serious side effect is slowed growth in children.

Vyvanse and Weight Loss

Vyvanse should not be taken off-label to help you lose weight. Weight loss is not an approved use for this medication.

Vyvanse and Driving

Taking Vyvanse may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Vyvanse and Heart or Blood Pressure Related Problems

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Vyvanse. Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.

Vyvanse and Mental Illness

Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. The FDA manufacturer recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to stimulant administration. Vyvanse may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, or bipolar illness. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.

Vyvanse and Circulation Problems

Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Vyvanse, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Vyvanse.

Vyvanse and Substance Abuse

Stimulants like Vyvanse have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Who Can Take Vyvanse? Medication Precautions

You should not take Vyvanse if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Vyvanse, or if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Vyvanse with your doctor. It is not known if it can cause fetal harm. Vyvanse is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

The safety of Vyvanse for children under age six has not been established. Store Vyvanse in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Vyvanse prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

Interactions Associated with Vyvanse

Before taking Vyvanse, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Vyvanse can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.

Vyvanse is similar to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. You should avoid taking these medications concurrently with Vyvanse.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Vyvanse before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Vyvanse can cause false steroid results.

The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.


What is Vyvanse.

Allen, Shari. Adderall XR and VyvanseTM. Mental Health Clinician (2014)

Adderall vs. Vyvanse: What’s the Difference? American Addiction Centers (2019).

Cardiovascular Effects of Stimulant and Non-Stimulant Medication for Children and Adolescents with ADHD. CNS Drugs (2017).

Drelich, Jordan. Is Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate Safe and Effective in Reducing ADHD Symptoms? Psychiatry Commons (2017).

More Information on Vyvanse and Other ADHD Medications:

Free Download: The Complete Guide to ADHD Medications

The Top ADHD Medications for Children — Rated by Readers

Primer: The Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

59 Vyvanse: ADHD Medication Comments & Reviews

  1. I have twins; one is on 20 mg and one is on 40 mg. By the time they get home from school, it has worn off and we are doing the constant reminders of what they should be doing. They had appetite issues for a few months but now no issues.

  2. My daughter is on Vyvanse 20 mg. She is showing signs of improvement in focus, staying on task and organization. The problem we are having is that she is very emotional now and gets very tired around lunch time.

  3. My 12 year old son just started Vyvanse at 40mg in the morning & another 20 in the afternoon (long acting never is with him). Every morning he wakes before 6 (normal for him) but falls asleep on the couch at about 8am. He has been going to bed very early too.

  4. Began taking 30 mg Vyvanse about a month ago. Found it to be a very positive addition to my life. My doctor asked me to try taking my 30 mg twice a day. Tried for two days but had more side effects than I had when initially starting the drug. We decided to try taking 30 mg in the morning and 20 mg in the afternoon since the 30/30 appeared to cause more side effects.

  5. Our 7 year old son has started on Vyvanse 6 weeks ago, (3 weeks on 20 mg and now 3 weeks on 30 mg). He started playing/pulling his hair. We don’t make a big deal of it and try to redirect his behavior with a stress ball. The Vyvanse has been great, doing lots of school work and his normal (happy) personality really shines through. Much better than Concerta which made him very sensitive and touchy, crying and sad for no reason.

  6. My 5 year old takes 40 mg of Vyvanse in the morning. He seems to be good with it. He is not able to swallow a pill so we open the capsule and mix it with something to get him to take it.

  7. Our son who is 9 has been on Vyvanse 60 mg once daily in the morning for about 2 years now. It lasts for him about 8 hours straight. When my son is involved with an after school activity or sport in the evening when needed he also takes 30 mg of Vyvanse about 3 p.m.

  8. My kid (8) has been on Vyvanse for almost a year now; starting last school year. We started out at 20mg, increased to 30, and he’s now at 40. The medication did wonders for his schoolwork. The downside, in my opinion, is that at while the meds are active, he is unfriendly.

  9. We started My 8-year-old daughter on 10mg Vyvanse about 2 weeks ago and are mostly extremely happy. It does seem to wear off in the afternoon (around 2-3 pm and she takes it at 7 am. We’ve had a few nights where her emotions have been pretty tumultuous.

  10. My 11 year old daughter with ADHD and depression started out on Adderall but the psychologist switched her to Vyvanse in March. It works well, and she’s finally caught up in school, and the teachers report she’s doing much better.

  11. I’m currently in recovery from an eating disorder and have recently been prescribed 30 mg of Vyvanse. The difference I have felt is profound. I feel better able to control my impulsivity with regards to food and exercise, calmer, and less preoccupied with weight. However, I notice the medication tends to wear off later in the day.

  12. My doctor and I decided to give Vyvanse a try. I’m up to 30 mg a day. I’ve noticed a very peppery feeling on my tongue and palate. It isn’t related to anything I’m eating or drinking, it goes away over night, and starts back up after I take the morning dose.

  13. I am 23, grad student, and I’ve been taking 60mg of Vyvanse for about five years now. Before that I was on Ritalin. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 9 In my experience Vyvanse is very effective in managing the symptoms of ADHD. Although, I still found certain things to be very difficult like writing papers. My friends and family know when I’ve taken my meds because I am less outgoing. I have to take my meds early in the morning (7 am) so that it wears off well before bedtime, if not I have trouble sleeping.

  14. I have been on Vyvanse for about a year now. One thing I notice about this medication is that it is a much smoother delivery. When I used take Adderall XR, I could tell when the med kicked in. With the Vyvanse, I can’t feel when it peaks and it seems to last longer, about 12 hours for me.

  15. For me Vyvanse lasts about 8 hours. On Adderall XR, I used to get very tired and anxious when it wore off, but not so much with Vyvanse. I don’t take it every day because I’m Bipolar II and worry about having increased emotional lability.

  16. For about a year I was on 30mg of Vyvanse daily and experienced intense waves of motivation through the day, followed by a pretty noticeable drop-off around 5 p.m. that would typically leave me anxious and unable to focus. About a week ago I talked to my doctor and got bumped up to 50mg and so far it’s been great. Like others have described on this board, I can’t tell when it has taken effect and what it’s left my system.

  17. My son is 19 years old. He is now taking 2 pills every morning of Vyvanse. (60mg and 40mg). He also takes 2 mg of Intutive at night. He has been doing well on it, says he feels good and it’s helping.

  18. I am 41 and recently diagnosed with ADHD. I am on Vyvanse as well. I think it works pretty good. I feel a little anxious but can concentrate better.

    1. I also take 60mg Vyvanse I am 38 years old. I have been on Vyvanse 3 years, it has totally changed how I act, get things done, remember things, also improved all my relationships. My doctor started me on 30mg, and as time went by we decided it needed to be upped. I also suffer anxiety so I have Klonopin that I take as needed. Also I just started therapy he is teaching me to relax more without meds all time.

  19. I started the “never ending tired” feeling after the birth of my second son (he was around 1 yr old; I was 39 yrs old). We had moved to NC and I realized I needed to see a doctor; that’s when I was diagnosed with ADHD. Deep down, I’ve always known I was living with ADHD (I’m a Special Ed. Teacher and can spot the observable characteristics from a mile away). Now, I wake up each day & I take Vyvanse 80mg (a stimulant) and it engages me with life again! I am motivated and energized to be involved and it gets me up & going! Without it, I am thoroughly exhausted and I could sleep the day away. Vyvanse has given me my life back! Then, at night, I take Clonazepam .5mg to help me sleep.

  20. I’m 19 years old and started this medication four months ago. After using nothing but CBT tips for three years I tried 40 mg of this medication and it works wonders. I can write essays and use my CBT learnings to shut other noises out with ease. Communication is easier. Recall is quicker. Problem is it wears off quickly come nighttime so I have a low dose of Adderall to fulfill those nighttime college study hours. Only side effects I’ve had, as my vyvanse is 12 hours extended release, is a lack of appetite. I found the people who had seriously adverse reactions to vyvanse did well with Focalin or Ritalin. I was allergic to both. I have inattentive type ADD, and vyvanse has truly been my saving grace.

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